North Central Mathematical Bulletin

The newsletter of the North Central Section
of the
Mathematical Association of America

Volume 7 Number 2 September 2004

Table of Contents

Governor's Report Fall Meeting
President's Report Campus News
Secretary's Report Summer Seminar
Treasurer's Report

Conferences and Courses

2003 Section Team Competition

Future Section Meetings

2003 Section Distinguished Teaching Award

Meetings of Other Sections

2003 Section Meritorious Service Award  Information for Contributors

Governor's Report


I attended my first MAA Board of Governors meeting at the MathFest in Providence, RI, on August 11, 2004.  I was impressed with the number of 'name' mathematicians serving on the board, but more impressed with the 90 page agenda and the breadth and depth of the MAA hierarchy.

Highlights from the meeting:


President's Report


Secretary's Report


The Spring 2004 North Central Section meeting of the MAA was held at Winona State University on April 23-24.  About sixty-eight people attended, representing twenty-three institutions.  Highlights included invited addresses by Professors Tom Sibley, Mike Gage, and Carl Cowen.  The section Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to Suzanne Doree, and the section Meritorious Service Award was given to Gail Nelson.

The Fall 2004 section meeting is scheduled for October 29-30 and will be held at North Dakota State University in Fargo.  A preliminary announcement and call for papers are elsewhere on this web site.  The spring, 2005, meeting will be at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, on April 22-23.  Sites are sought for future meetings; if your institution might be interested in hosting a meeting contact one of the section officers.


Treasurer's Report


All is well with the section financially.  Now that we are off to a new school year, it is time to think about your school (or department) being an institutional member of the MAA.  It costs $25 per academic year.  If your school requires some sort of billing before issuing a check, send me an appropriate e-mail at and I will mail a letter to you for that purpose.

Tom Sibley
Math Dept.
St. John's University
Collegeville, MN 56321-3000

2004 NCS Team Competition

The seventh annual NCS/MAA Team Contest will be held on Saturday, November 13, 2004, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Colleges and universities are invited to enter as many teams as they wish, of up to three undergraduate students each.

An announcement and call for registrations has been sent by email this month to at least one person from each collegiate department of mathematics in the section. If you are unsure whether anyone from your department is receiving these announcements, contact Jerry Heuer at  More information on the contest can be found here.

2003 Distinguished Teaching Award

The North Central Section of the Mathematical Association of America is honored to present the 2004 Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics to Suzanne Dorée from Augsburg College.

Students and colleagues alike extol her inspiring teaching at Augsburg for the past fifteen years.  Su combines a passion for teaching with a thorough analysis of effective teaching.  She has an “uncanny knack for being a great teacher to students at all levels.”

Based on her own experience and extensive feedback, she has developed a highly successful developmental algebra course.  Su has written and extensively tested a text for this course so that other instructors can enable these under-prepared and often math anxious students to succeed and continue in mathematics.

In the sophomore “transition” course at Augsburg, Su raises “students’ mathematical thinking, organizational skills, […] communication skills … [and] mathematical maturity.”  She has high standards and “translates those standards into … excellent mathematical instruction while consistently obtaining … exceptional student evaluations.”

Those of us in the section at large know Su’s talent in guiding students in undergraduate research projects.  Her students have an enviable record of presenting their worthwhile results clearly and enthusiastically.

Her influence extends beyond our section as well.  Su is on the MAA Committee on Teaching Undergraduate Mathematics.  She has published and presented pedagogical topics and has organized sessions on pedagogy at MAA meetings.

Su is clearly a deserving choice for our teaching award: in the words of one of her colleagues, “there is no mystery why Su Dorée is a great professor.  She loves to teach.  She loves what she teaches.  And she loves who she teaches.”

(The above citation was read for the presentation of the 2004 MAA/NCS Distinguished Teaching Award at the Spring 2004 section meeting, on April 24, 2004.)


2003 Meritorious Service Award

The North Central Section of the Mathematical Association of America awards its eleventh annual Certificate of Meritorious Service to Gail Nelson of Carleton College. Gail began teaching at Carleton College in 1988 after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota. She is currently a Professor of Mathematics and serves as Chair of the Mathematics Department.


Gail Nelson has been a devoted member of the North Central Section for a number of years. She served as the Section’s President from 1996-97 and Governor from 1998-2001 and continues to regularly participate in both regional and national MAA activities. Gail has worked to promote mathematics in numerous ways. She has served as co-director of the Carleton and St. Olaf Summer Mathematics Program for Women since 1995 and has been active in Project NExT as a consultant and panelist. Gail has worked as an organizer for the Konhauser Problemfest and coaches Carleton’s student problem solving teams. She has also served as a consultant for the College Board and a grader for the AP Calculus Program. In addition to these activities, Gail regularly gives presentations at meetings, has written numerous telegraphic reviews for the American Mathematical Monthly and continues to pursue her research interests in mathematics.  Throughout her career Gail has been a distinguished teacher and a valued colleague. She is described as an enthusiastic, efficient, creative and engaging colleague and teacher.


For her commitment to the mathematics community and dedicated service to the North Central Section of the Mathematical Association of America, we are pleased to present Gail Nelson this Citation for Meritorious Service.


(The above citation was read for the presentation of the 2004 MAA/NCS Meritorious Service Award at the Spring 2004 section meeting, on April 24, 2004.)

See you in Fargo!

North Dakota State University will host the MAA/NCS fall meeting, October 29-30.  More information can be found by clicking here.  For more information on contributing a paper, click here

The MAA/NCS spring meeting will be held April 22-23, 2005, at St. Olaf College.

Campus News

Bemidji State University

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Bemidji State University is presently back at full strength, with the return of Dr. Sue Rosselet (in CS) from her sabbatical last year and the return of Mr. Chris Brown (also CS) who had served as the local IFO (union) president for the past six years. This happy state of affairs will not last for long, however, as three members of the department (Dr. Tom Richard, Dr. Glen Richgels, and Dr. Randy Westhoff) are slated for half-year sabbaticals for the spring semester.

The department will hold its 32nd annual Northern Minnesota Mathematics Contest for area high school students later in October. An experimental remedial^2 math course is being offered this year in an attempt to keep some students from having to repeat our "on the books" remedial course umpteen times before having success. The department had a successful summer session in 2004 with grants totaling approximately $200,000 from the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office helping us to run courses in mathematics and mathematics education.  (Submitted by Eric Lund)


Concordia University - St. Paul

The Department of Mathematical and Natural Sciences is proud to introduce our new tenure-track mathematician, Sarah Jahn. Mrs. Jahn completed her coursework for a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She plans to defend her dissertation during this academic year. Sarah also has ten years of high school teaching experience in the Chicago area. We look forward to her contributions to our growing programs. Our first liberal arts math majors will graduate this year and we have a strong first-year student class. (Submitted by Robert Krueger)


Gustavus Adolphus College

Gustavus celebrated the 25th anniversary of its computer science program this summer by holding a three-day celebration, complete with six workshops and other programs. Professor Max Hailperin was the principal organizer.

The big change in MCS Department personnel this year is the addition of David Molnar as a visiting instructor. David is an expert in problem solving, including the preparation of students for the Putnam competition. He’ll be doing that at Gustavus this fall, in addition to teaching other courses throughout the year. Molnar received his BA from Wesleyan in 1988 and his MS from the University of Connecticut in 1994. Beyond problem solving, he has interests in discrete mathematics and games. Our other visitor for the year is not a new face: Preston Nichols will be returning for a second year. Molnar and Nichols will serve to replace department members on leave this year. Jeff Rosoff and Moira McDermott are on leave for the full year, whereas Tom LoFaro is on leave only in the fall and David Wolfe only in the spring. Meanwhile, Carolyn Dobler, Max Hailperin, and T.J. Morrison are back from their 2003-2004 leaves. (Hailperin also takes over from Rosoff as department chair.)

The department is saddened by the death of David Charles Rosoff, 18-year-old son of math professor Jeff Rosoff, on Saturday, July 17, 2004 as a result of head injuries sustained in an automobile accident.  (Submitted by John Holte)


Minnesota State University, Mankato

After many years in a fixed-term position, this year Dr. Pavel Kitsul moves to a tenure-track position at the rank of associate professor.  Three of our professors, Drs. Ernest Boyd, Kil Lee and Gary Rockswold, return this year from sabbatical leaves.

Four new fixed-term faculty have been hired this year. Clyde Eklund, Master's degree from UM-Minneapolis, has joined us from a similar position at St. Cloud State University. Daniel Hermann, Master's degree from Texas Tech University, has joined us from Texas Tech where he was a half-time teaching assistant. Diann Olson, Master's degree from Mankato State University, has come out of retirement from Mankato West High School to join us. Cody Tabbert, Master's degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato, has joined us this year after being a graduate teaching assistant here the last couple of years. Two of our fixed-term faculty from last year, Cheri Mahon and Sam Peterson, have chosen not to return this year.  (Submitted by Ernie Boyd)


Minnesota State University Moorhead

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Tim Harms and Dr. Jerry Stockrahm have been granted tenure and that Dr. Harms has also been promoted to associate professor.  (Submitted by Don Mattson)


Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

The Math/Stats department at Saint Mary's is happy to announce the addition of two new members: William Lee and Martin Stensing.  (Submitted by Stephen Aldrich)


Saint Olaf College

New name, improved ingredients, but the same great programs...

The St. Olaf Mathematics Department is no more.

Exactly 100 years after first offering a mathematics major---and in its first year of offering a computer science major---the former Department of Mathematics has changed its name. We are now the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (MSCS to our friends). Please visit us as

Our new name, although perhaps less punchy than just ``Math,'' better reflects the breadth of what we do, and have been doing for many years. ``MSCS'' recognizes explicitly the existence of three thriving programs, distinct from each other but still closely allied.

Fittingly enough, given the breadth of our interests, we welcome no fewer than four new faculty this year. They are linked to all three main areas of our work, and beyond: Olaf Hall-Holt, in computer science, joins us from SUNY - Stony Brook; Katherine Crowley, in mathematics, joins us from Columbia University; Nicole Hoft, in mathematics, statistics, and biology, comes to us from the University of Minnesota; and Urmila Malvadkar, in mathematics, joins us from the University of California - Davis.  (Submitted by Paul Zorn)


University of Minnesota Duluth

A feature article about the mathematics REU program at UMD appeared in the September issue of SIAM News. (The article will appear soon at   For the second consecutive year a participant in the Duluth Math REU was named winner of the MAA/AMS/SIAM Morgan Prize for outstanding research by an undergraduate. The most recent winner, Melanie Wood, was the first woman to win the honor. In the nine year history of the Morgan Prize the Duluth REU has had four winners and four runnerups.

Dalibor Froncek was granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor.  Douglas Dunham from the UMD CS department received the MAA Trevor Evans award for his article "A Tale Both Shocking and Hyperbolic"  (Math Horizons April, 2003).  Dunham was also promoted to the rank of Professor.

UMD will host the 2005 NCS Summer Seminar on the topic of bioinformatics.  (See details below.)  The featured presenter will be Dr. Laurie Heyer of Davidson College.

Sylvan Burgstahler will inducted into the UMD College of Science and Engineering Academy in October.  (Submitted by Joe Gallian)



University of Minnesota, Morris

1) Kathryn Sullivan, UMM '05, presented her undergraduate research project, "Minimum Sum Vertex Cover Problem," at UMM's Undergraduate Research Symposium in April 2004 (advisor: Peh Ng).

2) UMM students excelled on the December 2003 Putnam exam, an extremely competitive national mathematics examination for undergraduates. Ben Peterson (UMM '05) placed in the top 500 out of a field of 3615 participants. Bill Cox (UMM '05) and Katie Sullivan (UMM '05) both placed in approximately the top 1,000. Their efforts gave UMM a team rank of 71 in the nation, out of 479 institutions competing.

(Submitted by Peh Ng)


University of North Dakota

We have two new tenure track faculty members: Shuzo Takahashi is an algebraic number theorist who received his Ph.D. at Berkeley in 1998. Shuzo comes to us from Arizona State University.  Cheryl Halcrow just completed her Ph.D. in Education at UND and has moved onto the tenure track. Cheryl has been a lecturer in our department for a number of years.

We also have several promotions and other changes.  Congratulations to Larry Peterson, who was given tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor.  Bruce Dearden, who has chaired our department for the last five years, is serving as interim Dean of the Collage of Arts and Sciences at UND. Thomas Gilsdorf has agreed to serve as department chair for the year.

Finally, many of us in the department have been busy figuring out how to best use the wireless projection systems that were installed in most of our classrooms over the summer.  (Submitted by Richard Millspaugh)


University of Sioux Falls

This year, USF welcomes Chad Birger to its mathematics and computer science department.  Chad has recently completed work on his master's degree from South Dakota State University.  He will be bringing his infectious enthusiasm for mathematics to many of our students who need it most--those in introductory and service courses.  With the addition of Chad's nontenure-track position, the mathematics and computer science program at USF has added three and three-quarters new faculty positions since 2001, essentially doubling the size of the department.

In other news, Jason Douma received tenure and promotion to associate professor last spring.  (Submitted by Jason Douma)


University of St. Thomas

John Kemper is the new Chair of the Mathematics Department at the University of St. Thomas.  He succeeds Cheri Shakiban, who served two terms as chair.  (Submitted by Doug Dokken)



MAA/NCS Summer Seminar


Bioinformatics: Where Mathematics Meets Molecules

led by Dr. Laurie Heyer

18-22 July 2005

Seminar Abstract:  In this seminar, we will explore the mathematical, statistical and computational data analysis methods that are useful in the study of DNA and proteins. We will focus on the pattern recognition and optimization problems that arise in genomics and proteomics, including assembling and comparing sequences, hunting for genes, building phylogenetic trees, comparing entire genomes, and measuring gene expression with DNA microarrays. Participants will gain experience with selected online tools and bioinformatics software, but the emphasis will be on the algorithms and theory behind these tools. Prior exposure to basic concepts in probability and graph theory will be helpful. The necessary biological background and motivation will be provided in the seminar.


Conferences and Courses


Twenty-seventh Annual Pi Mu Epsilon Student Conference

15-16 April 2005

The 27th Annual Pi Mu Epsilon undergraduate mathematics research conference will be held at St. John's University on Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16.  The invited speaker is Jennifer Quinn from Occidental College.  As always, undergraduate speakers will be featured; now is the time to start setting your students' sights on presenting a talk in April.

To submit a talk, or for further information, contact

Marc Brodie
Phone: 320-363-5867

or visit



Sixth Regional Workshop in the Mathematical Sciences

NOVEMBER 5-6, 2004

The seventh Regional Workshop in the Mathematical Sciences (mathematics, statistics and computer science) will be held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on November 5th and 6th, 2004. The aim of the workshop is to promote interaction among faculty and students at UN-L at universities and colleges and those in the industrial sector in the region. The workshop is designed to be of interest to undergraduate students who have begun to consider graduate school as well as graduate students and faculty in mathematics, statistics, and computer science.

The workshop includes a component on undergraduate research. In particular, a portion of the workshop on Saturday will be devoted to parallel sessions of talks by undergraduates on their own research projects, and we particularly invite contributions by undergraduates to these sessions.

We have set up a website for the workshop at

Further details, as they become available, will be included in this space and/or the website above.

All participants are strongly encouraged to register via the website. Additional information about the workshop may be obtained via this website or by sending us an e-mail at

The workshop is funded by the NSF Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences program through the MAA, and the University of Nebraska Departments of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, and Statistics.



NCTM 2004 Regional Conference

11-13 November 2004

In Fall 2004, the NCTM Regional Conference will replace the annual fall meeting of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  For more information, go to

Future Section Meetings

Spring 2004       Saint Olaf College
Fall 2004       TBA
Spring 2005       TBA


Meetings of Other Sections

Wisconsin Section     April 15-16       UW - Washington County, West Bend
Iowa Section     April 1-2       Wartburg College, Waverly
Nebraska / SE South Dakota     April       University of Nebraska at Kearney


Information for Contributors

Submissions should be sent via mail to:

Jason Douma
Natural Sciences Area
University of Sioux Falls

1101 W. 22nd St.
Sioux Falls, SD  57105

Or (and preferably) by electronic mail to:

This newsletter was last updated January 04, 2005.